Senator Murkowski's eNewsletter for March 10, 2010Thursday March 10, 2011 Murkowski Addresses Alaska State Legislature In my annual address to the Alaska State Legislature on Feb 24, I voiced my concerns over the fall in North Slope oil production and the threat it poses to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).
The possibility that the pipeline would have to be shutdown and dismantled within less than a decade because of declining North Slope production is an ugly scenario for Alaska. A TAPS shutdown would have tremendous economic consequences for our state. That's why our top priority must be to increase production.
It is imperative that Shell finally receives its air permits so we can begin to develop the massive resources beneath the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. We must ensure that a simple bridge can be built in the National Petroleum Reserve so that CD-5 and other areas can be developed, and ANWR, with its enormous potential, must be made available for exploration and development. But removing the federal roadblocks is not enough.
We must also make sure that our state remains an attractive place to do business for oil companies. A compelling case can be made that it is more important for Alaska, at this critical juncture, to lay a foundation for sustained oil production than it is to maximize short-term oil revenues. Focusing on production will help save TAPS and keep our budget stable. Attracting new investment is critical, and our tax policies matter. We must not only be competitive with other states but other countries if we want to stay in the market. The time for taking progressive steps in production is now. Click here to watch my address to the Alaska State Legislature.
Right now we have a choice. We can choose to produce Alaska's oil - a move that will create jobs, generate revenues, reduce our foreign oil dependence, and reduce our massive federal debt - or we can continue to let the administration and others lock up these lands - and lose jobs, lose revenues, increase our oil dependence, and let our trade deficit balloon.
Gas Prices World events are once again reminding Alaskans that we must do more to produce our own energy. Crude oil prices are at a two year high as we watch the unrest that has spread across the Middle East and North Africa - two regions we lean on for supply. This unrest is raising the specter of a serious disruption in the crude oil supply.
The average price of gasoline in Anchorage last week was nearly $3.70 a gallon, in Juneau it was $3.57, and close to $4.00 in Kotzebue. The skyrocketing price of gasoline means money Alaska families don't have for other essentials, like food and rent.
As a nation, we do not benefit from higher gas prices. The vast majority of the money goes to foreign countries. We should be retaining the jobs and revenue by producing more of our own resources. Critics have opposed domestic production for the past 25 years, insisting that it would do little to lower prices. Had we been able to open ANWR in 1996, when President Clinton vetoed the bill which had passed Congress, we would not be so dependent on foreign sources now.
We have billions of barrels of oil within our own borders just waiting to be discovered and developed. That all adds up to very real amounts of revenue and thousands of high-paying American jobs. It's time that America sends the market a signal that we are serious about producing our own resources. Click here to view the speech I delivered on the Senate floor on March 3, 2011, about how we can reduce energy prices and make the nation more energy secure.
ANWR Bills I recently introduced two different bills to allow oil development on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain. I realize that passing ANWR in the Senate is an uphill battle, but that doesn't mean I'm simply going to give up on the oil, jobs, and the revenue up there. There are quite a few new members in the Senate this year who understand the importance to the economy of producing our natural resources. To educate them on the opportunities we have in Alaska, I've been handing out dozens of packets with fact sheets and other information on ANWR.
I believe the House of Representatives will lead the way by passing legislation to open ANWR this spring. It then will be the Senate's turn to act, and I will do everything in my power to convince my colleagues that this is the right decision for both Alaska and America.
I've introduced two different versions of the ANWR bill this year. One would allow drilling on up to 2,000 acres of the coastal plain. The other would prohibit any surface disturbance within the boundaries of ANWR, but allow access to the oil resources through directional drilling from state land if that's what it would take to silence those who consistently oppose oil production from ANWR.
Murkowski at Launching of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
Sen. Murkowski with Sen. Dorgan and former intern Megan Gregory, from Kake, Alaska, who will serve as a Youth Board Member at the Center for Native American Youth.
Last week I was honored to participate in the launching of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, where I will serve as a board member. The Center for Native American Youth was founded by former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, and is "dedicated to improving the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy, especially bringing to attention the issue of youth suicide among Native Americans."
I shared with the attendees some of the horrible statistics that the state of Alaska faces when it comes to suicide; an Alaskan native youth is twice as likely to commit suicide as an individual of another ethnicity, and in Alaska young men 15 to 24 have the highest rate of suicide.
It is time to put these tragic statistics to the forefront of our national conversation. I thank the Aspen Institute and Sen. Dorgan for creating a timely and important initiative and look forward to working with them.
Murkowski Attends 39th Iditarod
Sen. Murkowski with former mushing champions Larry Westlake and Emmitt Peters at the start of the Iditarod in Downtown Anchorage.
Sen. Murkowski with musher John Baker's dog, Summit.
Sen. Murkowski with John Kiminock.
Attending the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage last weekend was, as always, very exciting. Walking down 4th Avenue just before the start of the race and visiting with the mushers and their teams as they prepare to hit the trail is always great fun. I have great admiration for both the human and canine athletes. The Iditarod is well known as one of the toughest races on earth. The trail spans over 1,000 miles of rugged mountains, frozen tundra, and dense forests. Not only does the ruthless terrain of Alaska pose immense obstacles to the mushers, but temperatures on the trail can drop down to 30 below zero. This story of the Iditarod is treasured in Alaska and each year we remember the true spirit of those early Alaskans and the obstacles they faced and ultimately overcame. It is impossible to predict the exact day or time that the first musher will cross the finish line, but we will anxiously follow the race, cheer on our favorite teams, and pray for a safe race to the burled wood arch in Nome! Click here for race updates.
Photos From Recent Visits Around the State
Sen. Murkowski meets with Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak members who were in involved in multiple rescues throughout Alaska this year.
Sen. Murkowski with members of the 249th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf - Richardson.
Sen. Murkowski helps Alaska Military Youth Academy (AMYA) Cadet Michaela McHenry with her bag after her graduation ceremony from AMYA, in Anchorage.
Sen. Murkowski speaks with Soldotna Middle School students during a visit to the Kenai Peninsula on Presidents Day.
Constituent Coffees If you are planning to visit Washington, D.C. during the busy spring season, and will be in town on a Wednesday, check my website to see if I'm hosting a constituent coffee. Due to the number of hearings I attend as ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and a member of the Appropriations, HELP and Indian Affairs Committees during budget season, this is a great opportunity for me to be able to spend time with visiting Alaskans as well as have my staff meet on a variety of issues.
If you would like to attend one of our constituent coffee meetings, please contact Kristen Daimler at (202) 224-6665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sen. Murkowski with members of the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska.
Sen. Murkowski with the members of the Alaska Association of Broadcasters.
Posted: March 11, 2011
More Government & Politics »